black letter


black letter

noun

Definition of BLACK LETTER

:  a heavy angular condensed typeface used especially by the earliest European printers and based on handwriting used chiefly in the 13th to 15th centuries; also :  this style of handwriting

Illustration of BLACK LETTER

First Known Use of BLACK LETTER

circa 1644

black letter

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Black letter, type as used in the 42-line Bible issued at Mainz, 1456.—Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Style of alphabet used in handwriting throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It features uniform vertical strokes that end on the baseline, angular lines instead of smooth curves and circles, and the overlapping of convex forms. Black letter and roman were the dominant letter shapes of medieval typography. The only extant work known to have been printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the 42-line Bible (1450s), was set in black-letter type. Roman type largely superseded it in the Renaissance, though black letter persisted in Germany well into the 20th century. Today black letter is often used for diplomas, Christmas cards, and liturgical writings.

Variants of BLACK LETTER

black letter or Gothic script or Old English script

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: black level
Previous Word in the Dictionary: black leopard
All Words Near: black letter

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up black letter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More